Vinayak Rao is a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an ISA Featured Blogger. Vinayak is currently studying abroad with ISA in Florianópolis, Brazil.
Many of my ISA co-bloggers are describing how their last few weeks in their respective programs are going and are listing the things that they’ll miss most about their new homes away from home. My time in Brazil is far from over; I’m here for another 3 months. While I am sure that most of my friends heading back home to the U.S. will miss their home abroad, they must be excited to be back in the States. This made me think about what I miss about home, specifically the things I cannot do and the people I cannot see here in Brazil.
I am from Belmont, Massachusetts, a quiet town just 10-15 minutes outside of downtown Boston. I’m sure that you are aware that the city of Boston was recently victim to a horrific attack, an event of unspeakable and unnecessary evil. Thankfully, both of my parents were safely in India and my sister in New York City at the time of the attack, but many of my friends and other family members were in Boston during this frightful event. I am sending my best wishes to the city and hoping for a speedy recovery.
As much as I love my study abroad experience and want to stay in Brazil, this incident in Boston made me wish that I could have been back with my friends and family there, to personally make sure that each one of them was safe. Being in Brazil and not being able to do that was one of the most helpless feelings of my life, the one damper to my otherwise utopian experience thus far. I did not want to be there for any noble or heroic purpose, but simply because I felt that I needed their comfort and support to overcome this feeling of helplessness. Because of these thoughts, I’ve written a list of the things about home that I miss most .
— The number one thing I miss about Boston are my parents. All the fighting, all the bickering and all the name-calling in the world couldn’t deter my adoration of these two people. They have worked so hard to help me achieve everything that I have ever wanted in my life, just like coming to Brazil. For those who are fortunate enough to have two loving parents, you all know that words cannot describe how much you love them.
— Of course, my friends! What feelings of nostalgia and homesickness I experienced while looking through photos on Facebook. I have scrolled through tons of photos online and have seen my friends take part in their typical college lives. Although I am having a great time here, a part of me does miss it. I love them all, and I cannot wait to see them upon my return.
— Whey protein and my preferred diet. Whey protein and any health supplement is ridiculously expensive here because it is all imported. A tub of whey which I would pay $50 for in the U.S., would cost $125 here. It’s nuts. Also, as my mother is a vegetarian, I grew up eating only vegetarian food in my house; to eat meat, I would have to go out to restaurants or to friends’ places. Here in Brazil, they eat more meat than I am used to, and they love fried food. An average meal consists of rice, beans, meats, salads and typically something fried. Don’t get me wrong; it’s all very tasty, but my body still has still not quite adjusted to it.
However, as I rattle off these things that I miss about home in the U.S., I realize that I AM IN BRAZIL! Even though my friends and family are not here, I am having the time of my life. Thinking back on all of those times when I ‘m laying by the beach or trekking through tropical forests, I’ve thought about home very little, and I’ve realized that this experience is more than worth it. Boston, you’re my home, but for now Florianópolis is doing a great job replacing you.